Last ditch efforts came from both sides today. Republican leaders made it clear that they would do everything in their power to block the Health Care Reform Bill from passing. However, Obama stepped it up as well - appealing to as many Democrats as he could on why this momentus legislation is desperately needed for this country, asking them to "answer the call of history".
With a sole Republican vote in Rep. Joseph Cao of Louisiana and 39 Democrats voting against it, the Bill passed with a narrow margin of 220-215.
The bill essentials:
- Requires that most Americans carry insurance and provides assistance (subsidies) to those who cannot afford it.
- Large companies would be required to provide coverage for their employees and be faced with penalties if they don't comply.
- No denials based on pre-existing conditions.
- Bars insurers from imposing lifetime limits on coverage.
- Cannot charge higher premiums based on medical history and gender.
- Insurance industry could lose it's anti-trust exemptions from price gouging, bid-rigging and market allocation.
- The government will sell health insurance for direct competition with current insurers. (public option)
- The bill expands Medicaid.
Now, on to the Senate.